7 Super Simple Tips to Leading More Successfully
Leading successfully in today’s world demands that you never stop learning, growing, and developing your leadership skills. What worked yesterday, won’t work today or tomorrow! If you aren’t actively developing your leadership skills you will get left behind as things rapidly change!
I know how fast-paced the life of a leader is, so you may wonder how you can squeeze in growing as a leader. The real question is, can you afford to not grow as a leader? Neglecting your leadership skills might be the riskiest choice of all!
When it comes to your health, home, car, relationships, etc., engaging in preventative measures is essential. You may be convinced you don’t have time to take that morning walk or that your menu choices don’t matter until you end up with a health problem. Then you find yourself forced to spend your valuable time going to doctor’s appointments and shelling out money on prescriptions, not to mention the ways your poor health is limiting you.
It’s really no different when it comes to your home. If you don’t stay on top of caring for your home and keeping it up to date, it will drop in value, and that can be costly.
You get the picture! It’s no different with your leadership skills. If you neglect developing your leadership skills, you’ll be unprepared when crises shows up – the pandemic has proved that!
Learning and growing doesn’t have to be a major effort. In fact, here are some super simple ways to ensure that you are advancing yourself as a leader:
1. Keep Stretching Yourself
To strengthen your physical muscles, you must push yourself by lifting heavier weights or increasing the number of repetitions. That “stress” combined with resting your muscles causes them to get stronger.
As a leader, you can’t shy away from tasks, situations, or goals that are extra challenging or outside your comfort zone. Those are the very situations that will encourage you to become a stronger leader! And pausing and reflecting on what you learned as you navigated those challenges is time well spent.
How are you handling the challenges that come your way? Are you taking them on or shying away from them?
When was the last time you stretched yourself by strengthening your leadership muscles? Remember Stress + Rest = Growth.
2. Don’t Stop Dreaming
It’s human to yearn for the next new and exciting thing. The prospect of what could be is exhilarating.
Sadly, when life is full and frantic there’s no space to dream. That’s why it’s essential to carve out time to consistently imagine what could be.
When was the last time you dreamed or let your imagination go wild? Unless you schedule time to dream it won’t happen!
Leading is more than just putting out fires and managing the day to day. Leading is about inspiring others to imagine the possibilities, but you can’t inspire others if you haven’t taken the time to dream yourself.
When will you set aside time to dream? Will you dream on Wednesday afternoons or the 15th of each month? Schedule it on the calendar now.
3. First Look In The Mirror
When you notice problems with your people or in your organization first take a look in the mirror. What are you doing to contribute to the problems? What changes can you make as the leader to encourage different behaviors? How are your mindsets, beliefs, fears, etc. trickling down and impacting your people? Fear begets fear – it just does!
Whether you are conscious of it or not, you lead by example.
4. Keep Asking For Feedback
Perhaps the most effective way to zero in on where you need to grow, or to find out what you are doing well, is to ask for feedback! It might seem scary at first, but I promise you it will prove incredibly helpful! And the side benefit, the more you ask for feedback, the more it encourages a culture of asking for feedback. That will enable you and your people to make some positive changes to improve what you do. Remember, what you do trickles down!
Get in the habit of regularly asking for feedback!
5. Intentionally Build Trust
Trust is essential for creating a team that functions well. I doubt very many leaders set out to break trust with their people, yet I see and experience leaders who erode trust in small ways every day. Here are a few examples of actions that break trust:
- Not keeping your word or not following through with what you said you would do
- Communication voids
- Not trusting your people
- Taking over and rescuing
- Not addressing issues quickly
- Expecting perfection
- Bombarding your people with ideas
- Not listening
Leaders often believe that they have the best interests of their people in mind, but in reality, they are actually hurting their people and preventing them from growing.
How are you inadvertently whittling away trust?
6. Actively Develop Yourself
Leading is all consuming! If you want to help your people, you must prioritize developing yourself in key areas like…
- Organization – creating systems and processes
- Providing clear expectations and feedback
- Understanding your personality, and the personalities of your people
- Decision making skills
- Strategic thinking
- Keeping the vision alive
- Conflict resolution
- Your confidence
- Fostering creativity
- Overcoming your fears and mindsets
- Your emotional and social intelligence
- Implementing change
- Managing people/relationships
There probably won’t be a time that’s ideal for investing in you, but if you don’t develop yourself as a leader than you will lag behind. There are a variety of ways you can actively develop yourself, including reading books, listening to podcasts, taking courses or classes, participating in a Mastermind, or adopting a mentor.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to grow as a leader is to work with a coach – someone who is able to help you with your specific needs and shine a light on your blind spots – the areas that you aren’t aware of that are preventing you from leading at your best.
While it may require an investment to develop your leadership skills, you won’t regret it.
And remember, investing in the growth of your people also pays off.
7. Have A Life!
If work becomes your life, it limits your ability to lead successfully. Believe it or not, having hobbies, interests, and relationships outside of work actually enhances your ability to lead! You want to be a multi-dimensional leader – a leader with outside interests that fuel your creativity and energize you! What do you love to do?
Having space to pursue your interests requires that you keep work within work hours. I know that’s easier said than done, but being forced to prioritize, delegate, and focus during work hours will actually benefit you as a leader. And it makes space for you to engage in healthy activities too! That’s a win-win!
Seeking to master all 7 of these tips at once – that’s a bit much! But simply adopting one tip at a time and focusing on incorporating that new way of doing things into your life – that’s more doable. Then move on to the next tip. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking all seven tips and leading successfully!
Which tip will you start with? Which tip, if you focused on it, would make a powerful difference?